Kigali, 8 September 2011

President Kagame today opened an ITU Broadband Youth Forum taking place in Kigali at Serena hotel, which discussed the role of Broadband in shaping the young generation. Accompanied by Mr. Carlos Slim and Dr. Hamadou Toure, President Kagame sat on a panel composed of Broadband Commissioners and young ICT entrepreneurs where broadband opportunities and challenges faced by the youth were discussed. President Kagame and Mr. Carlos Slim are both co-Chairs of the Broadband Commission.

In his remarks, President Kagame emphasized that Information and communications technology are the pillars that drive modern economies and society: “Broadband is this century’s transformative technology, much as electricity, radio, TV and other previous era technologies transformed the world and propelled some nations into the industrial age. The ability to access and process fast amounts of data on broadband networks has increased the productivity and competitiveness of individuals, firms and nations.

President Kagame expressed optimism on the bridging of the existing digital divide as the young generation continues to engage with Broadband technologies, creating a future that bypasses the divides: “Today’s youth provide this missing link, as they have the opportunity to engage with broadband technologies. Our duty as leaders is to create a conducive environment for them to thrive, be competitive, and use their energy and creativity to integrate broadband and ICTs into our nations’ development agenda.” President Kagame urged African leaders to recognize the fact that the continent had come late to seize the opportunities offered by broadband and other technologies and, henceforth, agree to take corrective measures.

Mr. Carlos Slim said: “In the commission we have it clear that we are living a new civilization of technology and knowledge. This is very good news for our countries, our underdeveloped countries – it’s an opportunity that our people and governments have been looking up to for a long time and we have to make sure we turn this opportunity into a transformation tool during this generation.”

The conference has attracted ministers of Telecommunications and ICT, and Broadband Commissioners from Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa among other countries.